Central Beach Closed Due To Erosion Along Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

CHICAGO (CBS) — A dangerous situation has developed at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, and it has forced officials to close one of the beaches.

Chief Ranger Mike Bremer said the beach at Central Avenue, on the east side of Beverly Shores, has been closed indefinitely, because high waves last week washed away the sand, leaving an eight-foot drop-off, which has at its base some jagged pieces of an old road that used to run along the beach.

“We have been seeing the sand eroding over time for the past year. Erosion of the sand, in combination with rising lake levels, has given us the present situation,” he said.

Bremer said Lake Michigan is more than a foot higher than it was last year, and that has left most beaches at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore at about half the size they were last year, due to “sand starvation.”

“A lot of the erosion issues that we have here are really exacerbated by manmade structures that have been built out into the lake. Structures such as the Port of Indiana, or the breakwaters at Trail Creek prevent the natural movement of sand from the north down to the south end of the lake,” he said. “Where we had much wider beaches even last year, where you would have places from the dune line to the water line, maybe 50, 75, 100 feet; now we’re seeing beaches that are less than half that in all areas of the park.”

Officials said the area will be monitored, and the beach will be reopened once enough sand has been replenished to make it safe again.

Visitors can contact the Dunes information center at 219-395-1882 for updates and questions.

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